by Cliff Rold
Boxing loves a winner. It loves money more. Make a fight with the promise of violence, and evidence of violence in the build to the opening bell and…
Fire up the cash registers.
This Saturday, the Heavyweight division could wear a moniker straight out of an 80s schlock cult film. It’s “The fight the British Boxing Board of Control didn’t want you to see.” According to the Associated Press, over 28,000 tickets have been sold. The fans don’t agree with the BBBofC.
It’s a top-ten heavyweight clash between two fighters who lost their last bout, one of them three of his last four. David Haye (25-2, 23 KO) talked the talk and then took off his shoe to how a busted toe prevented walking the walk.
Dereck Chisora (15-3, 9 KO) showed up fat and lost to Tyson Fury. He showed up in shape and got jobbed bad against Robert Helenius. He topped it all this past February when he smacked Vitali Klitschko at the weigh-in, spit in his brother’s face during pre-fight introductions, and then managed to raise his stock by giving Vitali his fiercest challenge since Corrie Sanders in 2004.
He lost decisively, but he lost in a way that made Chisora someone worth continuing to follow. With less than 20 professional fights, his learning curve is clearly coming along. His manners could use some help.
Of course, being ill mannered and brash is what sells this weekend. Following Klitschko-Chisora, Haye and Chisora managed to steal the post-fight press conference show. Noisy banter between the two led to a physical altercation. Haye caught Chisora with a mighty sucker shot, Chisora entering a new phrase into comic complaints.
Move over “Don’t taze me bro.” “He glassed me” arrived.
Chisora claimed to have been hit with a glass water bottle and photos showed a spew of H20 to back the claim. Threatening to find Haye in the street and lay lethal damage on him didn’t endear Chisora to the BBBofC.
It was enough to lure Haye out of his so-called retirement. Unable to make a fight with Vitali Klitschko, Haye shook off the cobwebs and makes his first start since a failed challenge of Wladimir Klitschko in July 2012.
None of this should be celebrated. It certainly isn’t dignified. In the land of Shakespeare, this is not high-class theatre.
No, it’s boxing.
And it’s boxing in its carny element, barking the masses into the tent and separating them from coin.
What they find inside the tent remains to be seen. Real stakes exist.
Last weekend, following his sixth-round demolition of twice-vexed challenger Tony Thompson, Wladimir Klitschko dismissed the bout as a contest of two Klitschko losers. Don’t believe the aloofness. There is no fight the Klitschko’s will be watching closer this weekend. The Brothers K have built a fistic and promotional empire. They fight for glory.
They fight for cash too. The best cash will emerge in East London this weekend.
Vitali, who has hinted at retirement, might yet find Haye reason to stick around. No one sane would want to see Wlad face Haye again, but rabid Klitschko fans seeking a knockout end for the Brit would see Vitali as their solution.
Wladimir, who really needs a fighter who will come to him and make a fight of it for entertainment’s sake, would find one in Chisora. Having wiped spit water from his face before the Vitali bout, the fighter in Wladimir has to want to knock Chisora’s smirk off with one of those nuclear right hands he has.
Factor in the combination of German gate and T.V. money with the pay haul the Brits could bring to the table, and nothing would pay off for Wladimir like a Chisora win. They could get away with charging entry to the pre-fight press conferences. Wladimir Klitschko-Dereck Chisora is more than a fight.
It’s a spectacle.
In that sense, Haye and Chisora deserve some credit for making the fight. Sure, it’s easily their biggest check without a Klitschko on the other end. They have found a way to win in losing. It’s also a real risk. Both could have bided their time, made profitable interim fights, and remained as Klitschko options.
By fighting each other, they create an opportunity to generate immediate demand. Let’s face it, not much of the rest of the Heavyweight class is chomping at the bit to take their shot. The improving field can best be described as a) not ready yet; b) waiting for Wladimir to get old; c) waiting for Vitali to retire; or, d) all of the above.
Vitali is reduced to possibly facing the hopeless and only quasi-talented Manuel Charr. Wladimir has mentioned the flabby and polar-melt-slow Mariusz Wach (dreck) and the green but actually quite intriguing Kubrat Pulev (if not now, that is a serious fight in the next year or two).
Anything the two Heavyweight heads of state do sells mad tickets in Germany, but none of these fights are likely to incite the madness fight fans generate for those encounters that truly raise the pulse.
Like it or not, the blood races best for two fighters that polite company would probably prefer fade away. They fight each other this weekend. Time will tell who the winner fights next.
It’s easy to discern what the accountants would prefer.
The Weekly Ledger
But wait, there’s more…
Donaire Unifies: https://www.boxingscene.com/nonito-donaire-unifies-looks-definitely-nishioka--54774
Updated Ratings: https://www.boxingscene.com/forums/view.php?pg=boxing-ratings
Picks of the Week: https://www.boxingscene.com/boxingscenecoms-television-picks-week--54845
Cliff’s Notes…To be resumed next week.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]